BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a number of public school districts to move to virtual or hybrid learning, some local private high schools say they saw an enrollment increase.
St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute on Kenmore Avenue says a handful of students enrolled at the school for the 2020-2021 school year. This year even more students have enrolled.
"We think St. Joe's proved last year we had the resources, commitment and faculty to do five day learning really well, and the community took notice. So we're looking at 20 more freshmen this year," said Christopher Fulco, the school's president.
Those 20 students have given the school's freshman class a 12.5% enrollment bump.
Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart on Main Street in Buffalo saw a similar small bump last school year. School leaders say while some of those families have chosen to go back to the public schools they came from, others have decided to stay. Last year the school was able to maintain in-person learning 85% of the time partly because of the smaller class sizes that exist there.
"It wasn't a huge lift for us to create distance in our classrooms," explained Head of School Jennifer Demert. "Our typical class would only be 18 in a class. So we scaled that back slightly so we could fit girls in a classroom and still maintain six feet of distance. That's something we're continuing to maintain in this coming school year. We will still have six feet of distancing for our desks in our classrooms."
Erie County is mandating that students maintain as much social distancing as possible in classrooms this year. St. Joe's also says it also expects to have six feet between students in classrooms this year.